Nambe Lake

The most popular alpine lake hike in Santa Fe.

Hiking Difficult

Distance
10 km
Ascent
609 m
Descent
609 m
Duration
3-4 hrs
Low Point
3.1 km
High Point
3.5 km
Gradient
11˚
VIEW ON MAP
Nambe Lake Map

Description

This out-and-back hike to Nambe Lake is one of the most popular alpine lake hikes in the Santa Fe area. When sitting in downtown Santa Fe, you might have a hard time believing that you could find the trailhead to a beautiful alpine lake hike just a few miles from downtown, but the road to the Nambe Lake trailhead climbs steeply from downtown, quickly leaving the arid desert behind and exchanging it for a lush alpine environment. By the time you reach the trailhead, you'll be surrounded by aspens and towering pine trees, the dry sand exchanged for dark black dirt.

The hike to Nambe Lake begins by traversing the flanks of Ski Santa Fe before entering the national forest. Here the route continues to follow the named Windsor Trail before turning off onto the Nambe Lake trail.

After turning right onto the Nambe Lake trail, the route will follow Nambe Creek. "The trail becomes relatively steep at this point and ascends the remaining 1.2 miles to the alpine lake," writes Blaine Hoppenrath on OutdoorProject.com. This steep ascent along the creek earns this trail a difficult rating, according to most locals.

Once at the lake, soak in the incredible scenery of this alpine bowl tucked below Lake Peak. There's an optional loop trail that circumnavigates the lake if you're looking for some bonus miles and a few different perspectives of this idyllic lake.

Once done at the lake, return to your car the same way you came.

Difficulty

Difficult

Hiking trails where obstacles such as rocks or roots are prevalent. Some obstacles can require care to step over or around. At times, the trail can be worn and eroded. The grade of the trail is generally quite steep, and can often lead to strenuous hiking.

Medium Exposure

2 out of 4

The trail contains some obstacles such as outcroppings and rock which could cause injury.

Remoteness

3 out of 4

Little chance of being seen or helped in case of an accident.

Best time to visit

June, July, August, September, October

Features

  • Alpine
  • Picturesque
  • Water features
  • Forestry or heavy vegetation

Guidebooks in this area